Top 12 Discussion Ice Breaker Activities for Students

Let’s get started!

Discussion ice breaker activities are a great way to get students connecting with one another. There are two big ways in which these discussion ice breakers can set the dynamic of the classroom and the learning environment:

  1. It provides an easier entry point to share ideas and students become familiar with having discussions.
  2. This practice builds connections between students and creates community.

It can be tough getting started, especially when students are unfamiliar with best practices of participating in a discussion. That’s where this list comes in! These ice breaker activities make discussions fun and engaging for students–making the learning process more interactive. Read more about how Parlay increases student voice.

Let’s get started!

Our top 12 discussion ice breaker activities.

Click here to see the whole collection of ice breaker discussions.

Very quick discussions:

Thought-provoking ice breakers:

Introspective discussions:

***Note: every discussion listed can be done synchronously or asynchronously. You can make it work for your blended classroom. For more on how to do that, see here.

Tips for the best discussion.

For the best discussion possible, here are a few best practices:

  1. Before the discussion, outline goals for why your students are having the discussion. Work with them to define what these goals are (i.e. build classroom community). Read our blog Tips and Best Practices for Online Discussions to learn more about this.
  2. Set a word count expectation for your quick ice breaker discussions. Parlay’s Online RoundTable discussion shows the student how many words they have written in their initial response. This will add some structure to the activity. 
  3. Take your ice breaker activities live! Quick ice breaker activities (like the ones listed above) make Live RoundTable discussions easy for students to get involved in. Low-stakes questions are a simple way to get students sharing their ideas.

Ice breaker discussions in practice.

Katie Burns, a long time Parlay user and friend, shared with us how she uses ice breakers with her students.

Next steps!

If you have any of these discussions with your students we'd love to hear how they went. Feel free to share with us on our Twitter with the hashtag #parlayideas or @parlayideas. Or join us on Instagram @parlayideas.

We can't wait to hear or see the amazing and thoughtful ideas that come from your ice breaker activities.

If you have any suggestions for easy and fun ice breaker activities reach out to us, we’d be happy to make that discussion for you.